Her tiny, piercing, jet black eyes peered curiously through her soft black curly hair as she perched contently on the back of the sofa.
“Who is this strange lady coming into my home?”
This 10 week old puppy may have wondered as her head tilted slightly in curiosity. Mommy and the other pupslay nearby, doing what moms and her pups do.
” This lady is getting curiously closer, and she is smiling...she smells so nice…like vanilla. She’s moving a little closer now in each moment. My furry, fun tail is telling her I’m glad she is here. Mom and the pups are now hanging out with me, but this lady seems to only have eyes for me with her very kind eyes. She smiles at the other pups and mom, but keeps turning her attention to me only.”
“Her eyes tell me a story. She LOVES…she LOVES soo much! I WANT SOME! Lady gathers all of me oh so gently in her arms. She holds me close…oh so close! My little very pink tongue is kissing lady now unashamedly all over her face! I can’t help it!”
She had stolen our hearts…our little furry friend was CHOSEN:)
We ALL want to be Chosen.
Sadly, not all are chosen on this planet. But there is great news! We are ALLCHOSEN! Hand picked! Chased after! His smile is wide! He is fascinated with you…and loves you soon much❤.
He is on a mission…He knows ALL about you. He knew you before you were born.
The WORD tells us He will leave the 99 to come search for us…Choose us! And when He has found us, He will joyfully carry you/us HOME on His shoulders…what a picture!
He CHOSE to die for us…each one of us…
He CHOOSES me…He CHOOSES you! His sweet aroma of GRACE permeates His pursuit of us. His loving arms are forever outstretched to His CHOSEN. His eyes are ALWAYS on me, ALWAYS on you.
We met for the first time when we were only 13. We could only imagine school crushes that could become life partners. Life seemed invincible at 13. It was only a few years later it seemed, one of our dreams and hopes were crushed, as my friend was left picking up the pieces with young children now needing raising and doing life without their dad.
I could only imagine…
The first time I heard of the group Mercy Me and their now ever popular song, I can Only Imagine, was at the celebration of this young father and husband’s life. My heart just could not imagine what my friend was facing as her hopes and dreams she had, came crashing down around her.
“I had a choice“…
rang loudly in my heart for a long time… My friend made a choice to look forward… move… repeat…one step at a time, get up out of bed amidst her hopes and dreams being shattered in an instant… I can only imagine.
“Ican only image,when I walk by your side… what my eyes would see… surrounded by your glory… will I dance for you Jesus or in awe of you be still… will I sing… will I speak…I can only imagine when all I will do… is forever worshipyou... I can only imagine…”
The words of the song seemed far away in my head as I only heard some of them in my grief and disbelief for my friend.
“I made a choice“, still echoed quietly in my heart over the next months… maybe even years.
So many hopes and dreams have been shattered around me this past year. Some close… some not. Still all individual stories of heartbreaking loss. A son… a brother… a sister…a father… a mother… a baby… dashed hopes… dashed dreams.
My young friend knew where the love of her life was beginning his eternal life now. She could onlyimagine. Yet she took comfort in her faith, much leaned on her Jesus, who promised In His Word to wrap His arms of love around her. (Matthew 5:14)
He also promised in His Word to heal her broken heart and bind up her wounds. (psalms 147:4)
Still…Oh so many questions…
What was the love of her life experiencing now in Heaven? I can only imagine asked many of those questions we all would ask, even now as some of us face hopes and dreams dashed this season.
The scriptures told her her sweetheart had embraced the King of Kings as He had entered the gates of Heaven!! What a picture!!! She was promised there would be no more sickness, pain, death, or suffering for the love of her life and father to her young children. He was joyfully embracing those he had loved so on Earth!! Every tear wiped away! every hurt… healed! He had been escorted to a seat with his name on it at God’s amazing banquet table!! Feasts! singing!… oh the singing!… the laughter! (Luke 6:2)
The only tears now will be tears of joy for him and for many of our loved ones that have gone before us!! What a Hope there is for those who have accepted His Free gift of Eternal Life! Our mourning will turn to Joy!! Our hopes and dreams…. NEVER to be dashed again!!
Take heart!! MAKE A CHOICE to look into the face of the Ultimate Hope amidst the crushing blows of this fallen world… the taker of our hopes and dreams…
My young heart could hardly take it all in. My dad had parked our 1970s family motor home he was the captain of, many steps below on a winding path where our little family was now standing in holy reverence of sorts, as each of us took in the sights in our own personal way.
The Grand Canyon.
Rugged beyond rugged, far beyond far anything my young self had ever experienced. My little heart beat with an anxiousness beyond anxiousness as the black metal railing was the only thing that separated where I stood, from a vast world so far, so wide, so unknown, so breath taking. My eyes wanted to see everything all at once it seemed, and the further my eyes could focus, the further I wanted to see.
I leaned my young self as far to the right as I could, then as far to the left as I could, and then, straight ahead as far as I could. I even turned myself around to take in the awe inspiring 360 vast view that seemed to never ever stop .
Yet, as much as I could see all of this vast expanse around me, nothing was as solid, real solid, as my little hands wrapped vulnerably and oh so tightly around the black railing in front of me.
That was my place of certainty; solid, when I would lose sight of where my mind, my thoughts would wander the depths of the canyon as I looked down into the unknown ruggedness formed so long ago.
What was I grasping on to now as the view of my deep Canyon of grieving was seeking to overturn my heart??
Where was my steady black railing now?? Nothing looked the same, sounded the same, felt the same…. life would be forever different. Nothing could change that…. nothing was the same.
My mind traveled back in a moment. Oh how my young fingers had gripped that anchored black railing so many seasons ago now, protecting me from the depths of that canyon, the seemingly endless rock and danger lurking just beyond the jet black railing.
It had been 225 days.
The hands of time had seemed to spin out of control as if all were a million years ago… and yet had seemed to stand still all at the same time. The tide flowing and ebbing in my heart seemed to have a rhythm, and yet some days no rhythm at all.
The aroma and sight of a freshly baked blueberry platz, or the first smell of her summer time soups, penetrating the air caused the methodic tide to shift… and the waters seemed to wash over my head and stay a bit longer some moments than others.
She was still here.
Sometimes the view seemed to wash over my heart of things seen and unseen things remembered, and things revealed all at once it seemed. This earth was not her home any longer… yet the twinkle in the smile in my brand new grandbaby’s eyes felt as if she was still here….
My well worn journals over the many decades were dotted with verses I had searched when wading through life’s canyons.
One such verse stood out above the rest as it painted a comforting picture in my heart.
“…. HE WILL UPHOLD YOU WITH HIS RIGHTEOUS RIGHT HAND” -Isaiah 4:10
Now instead of me gripping the Grand Canyon solid black railing, I gained a picture of my Jesus upholding me with His righteous right hand. Not my strength, but HIS… reaching out to me.
I could rest my weary grip and let Him uphold me, to keep from falling… give support. Oh how I needed to keep from falling…
The journey on this planet can have us endure heart aches deeper than the depths of the Grand canyon’s. Yet when we choose to believe His promise He will uphold us, we can let our hearts and our minds rest when the canyon of grief seems too vast.
Let Him keep you from falling… rest in Him. His strong grip on me with His righteous right hand held me tight as the depths of the canyons of life threatened to swallow me at times.
He promises to do the same for you. There is healing in His righteous right hand.
In a hurry to get changed to head out the door for what seemed like the 10th time that day, I realized quickly my fashion for the day excluded one small dangly jewel, gifted to me by my one and only the previous Christmas.
I was in the habit of wearing the complete set, so I panicked in that moment as I grabbed my now earingless ear, much to my dismay.
Where would I even begin to look as I didn’t know how long it had been missing. Years earlier, the situation would have kept me in panic mode for a whole lot longer than I would have liked. My anxiety taking over and keeping me from moving through my day or even days.
But not today. Yes I was sad in the moment at the concept of my incomplete set of the special gift from my sweetheart, but life had dealt some bigger blows the past 3 years with the passing of my parents, changed relationships and the healing that had surrounded all of that. It had been the hardest 3 years of my life despite the struggles I had experienced most of my many many years prior to these past years.
But there was a difference now. I was ready. Ready to heal. I had become a student. I allowed the Holy Spirit to teach me… heal me. It was hard.
It was very hard. It was a very new season in uncharted territory.
I still wanted it my way at times.
I listened more than I ever had to the Holy Spirit. My self reliance could not solve this major season in my life. But oh had I tried. I was not perfect, but I was willing to have my ears and eyes opened.
This was the key to a “door” I had not opened fully before. His answer to me when I would hear and see more clearly was,
REST in Me.
I’ve got this. Give it to ME.
I have work to do… STOP getting in the way.
That last part seemed harsh from my God, but it changed the following years of my life, and still is an ongoing journey. And today, encountering the loss of this precious earring which would have immobilized me years prior, left me with an attitude of “letting it go” in this moment, and “giving it up” to God.
“God, you know where my lost earring is. I don’t want to stress about it. You know how much this gift means to me.”
and with that… I went about my day.
Three days later, after not having thought about the lost earring, I was adding some food to my China girls food dish in the back corner of the dining room when my eye caught the glint of something sparkly on the floor just passed the dog dish.
And there it was! In the most unlikely place I would have looked!
“Thank you Jesus” where the first words I uttered with an easy smile accompanying my words.
My God is in the little things as well as the biggest things. I had trusted Him with the biggest things in my life over the years, why not this lost earring?
Sometimes, God wants us to trust Him in the little things to show us He is trustworthy in the bigger things.
Leave it to Him… REST…. go about your day…. He loves us THAT much.
And that is just the beginning.
I learned a lesson that day. I realized how my life had changed in the way I had responded to even the smallest of things, by walking through the biggest of things with my God.
Today, no matter what you are going through…. the biggest things or the smallest things, know that God wants you to trust Him as much in the smallest of things as the biggest of things.
Little pudgy fingers grasped the now half frozen treat clumsily, as much stickiness enveloped her eager little hands. Some of the coveted treat slid haphazardly down one side of her little soft chin. Not all made it “home” between her pink little lips, But oh did she try.
My little girl was lost in her own little world, making sure she would get the most of this special treat her papa had blessed her with on aaa hot summer afternoon.
My mama heart welled up as I took in this beautiful picture of a little blonde haired, blue eyed girl, enjoying a treat from her papa to the fullest. She didn’t seem to mind that not all of the delectable treat hadn’t made it into her sweet little mouth. She enjoyed what she got out of it.
When no more of the delicious treat was to be had, she was off to swing and laugh and play with no further thoughts on how the eating of this treat had transpired. No guilt. Just pure enjoyment.
How may we try to devour all that is good in the Word, and in the process have some wisdom and revelation go by the wayside, perhaps ” sliding off our chin, landing on the floor only to be enjoyed by some busy summertime ants”.
I could just imagine our Heavenly Father’s heart welling up with MUCH joy as He watches us, sometimes clumsily devour His Word, only to miss some nuggets of knowledge He wants to open our eyes and hearts to.
I would imagine His joy would be no less than this earthly mama watching the attempt at her little girl devouring her delectable treat.
I believe He wants us to come boldly into His presence, as He says in His Word, as His children. NO fear… just COME as we are… like this little girl.
My heart smiled wide as I watched with much delight, as my little granddaughter wrapped her tiny pink three-year-old tongue clumsily around the half broken chocolate covered ice cream, perched clumsily on the ice cream stick.
His smile is wider… His love is greater… His heart…. BIGGER than any other.
We may want to shrink back from reading His Word because we may not be doing it exactly right. His love overshadows our imperfections. The JOY He has at our imperfect attempts is infinitely more than any earthly mama can have.
Find HOPE in His Word. Let NOTHING stop you from enjoying the nuggets in God’s Word. Nuggets of wisdom and direction that do end up being planted in your heart as you just begin…
Our God knows our heart.
As time goes by, your ability to receive the wisdom and direction from God grows, as you get to know Him more intimately.
He loves us SO incredibly much.
He says so in His Word… His letters to us.
BELIEVE it…. ENJOY it….. EXPERIENCE it. He is forever waiting… watching…with SO much love at our attempts at digesting the nuggets in His Word.
Have NO fear. Come BOLDLY. Find HOPE… find JOY….find PEACE. Just freely indulge in His Word … because….
The summertime birds chirped cheerfully as I rode my not so new bike through the neighborhood on a beautiful warm summers day.
As I rode through the quaint streets of my small town, enjoying the fullness of of the summertime greenery of the mature trees along my chosen route, my gaze turned to an elderly man strolling aimlessly it seemed on the sidewalk.
We greeted each other with a short nod. As I was about to ride by, the man tilted his brimmed foreign looking hat towards me and asked if I knew German… in German. I said I understood it well, but to speak it was not very eloquent to say the least. I asked if he knew any English. He responded with a shake of his head and a short questioning shrug of his shoulders.
Knowing this, the likelyhood of our meeting lasting past the quaint nod and smile seemed unlikely at the moment.
Not so it seemed as my inadequate attempt at a language I had been surrounded with all my life seemed to be adequate in this moment… It didn’t seem to deter him at all.
And so the “magic” began.
The older gentleman listened with much grace. A small grin sat happily on a face that had seen many generations as he listened. He then proceeded to tell me of his homeland in the most beautiful fluent language I had been so familiar with all of my life.
As the story went, he had only arrived four short months earlier.
As I stood listening to this gentleman’s story, half perched on my bike, I could see his face begin to relax more and more the deeper into his story he got with a fluent German that rolled smoothly and rhythmically off his tongue . It seemed to be a comfort to him to speak in his own familiar tongue to a stranger he just met in a foreign country.
Listening to this elderly gentleman brought back memories of years gone by of beautiful family gatherings at my grandparent’s home on their farm that always seemed so magical. Nothing but German… and for a few moments, I was transported back in time to that beautiful season in my life again.
What a beautiful moment.
As our chance meeting came to a close, or was it chance?… We bid each other a fond farewell and went our own opposite ways, A “fond farewell” as we had now become a little less strangers than when we had met such a short while ago. All because of a meeting “in the moment”.
Unknown to this gentleman, he had given me the gift of warm remembrance of a time and place that had been delicately tucked away deep in my heart.
In his own need to connect, he accomplished a smile in someone else’s heart effortlessly.
This side of Heaven, we may never know how these in the moment encounters will affect someone or ourselves for that matter. It may very well happen when someone needs it the most.
So why not take a chance?… sieze the moment… be IN the moment. For you never know when we can bring hope to someone who may be carrying a heavy heart.
Willingness to connect and step out of his comfort zone in a foreign country impacted my life by him just opening his mouth and wanting to connect in a foreign land.
We both came out winners that day as we both allowed ourselves to be catalysts of hope… one from a foreign land needing connection, and one being transported back to a familiar land of heartfelt remembrance.
All because two people chose to be catalysts of hope…
Crouching low as to not bump our heads on the low ceiling of the bunk in the 1970s family motorhome my little sister and I made ourselves as comfortable as could be in the small space. The Monopoly board, paper money, houses, hotels, and move tokens took up most of the leftover space. It was one of our favorite things to do on our many summer family trips.
A long narrow window out the front gave opportunity for the best panoramic views where we were headed day or night. My views consisted of the majestic mountains in the British Columbia interior to the water’s edge of Newfoundland over the years.
On this particular trip my dad pointed the motorhome south across the border to California. Spectacular cities and country views by day…KOA campground signs and mostly deserted roads by the dark of the night.
This particular night long after dark, searching for the KOA campgrounds, the rolling hills of Salt Lake City came into view. Perched on the top bunk now tucked in with cozy blankets and pillows matching the 70s brown and gold decor, the motorhome crawled up a particularly long hill. Only the headlights lit the highway in the wee hours of the morning.
As my eyes grew tired and mesmerized by the continuous passing of the yellow dividing lines on the highway, I started nodding off.
Suddenly something bright forced my tired eyes to open a bit. My eyes then opened wide as what appeared woke my mind wide. Cresting the hill, a sea of lights shone as a million white diamonds as far as the eye could see.
I gasped slightly as I caught my breath at the sight. My eyes were wide open now not wanting to miss any of this view that seemed to have appeared out of nowhere. There was a comfort in the cast glow of the city, even then in my 12 year old mind.
The darkness seemed to all but disappear as the city lights seemed to envelope us all.
As I think back on this memory, it reminds me of the first time I heard the Gaither gospel song “Because He Lives”. One particular line in the song has stood out in my heart ever since and it goes as follows:
“I’ll see the lights of Glory… and…I’ll KNOW He lives!“.
There may be times we will have to travel through life in the dark of the night after the joys of daylight with only the dividing lines and a few signs illuminated. But knowing that the final crest someday will open wide the windows of all the lights of Glory that will leave your eyes wide in awe and your heart breathless, will make this trip worth all you or I will experience.
Her soft, salt and pepper mixed schnauzer fur ruffled easily through my familiar fingers as I caressed her snuggled body lying in her favorite chair.
Her favorite blanket snuggled her small 15 year old body as I had placed it, hoping to let her know my heart. Time wasn’t on her side as Birthday number 15 had come and gone… But my heart just wanted a little more time…
“Congratulations on the addition to your family!” announced the kennel owner as she poured the tiny squirming puppy into our arms, now 15 years ago.
I remember thinking, “Really lady? I thinkthat’s maybe going a little too far? Yet I appreciated the sentiment.
Now 15 years later, our sweet girl has been all of that… and more.
Having had children and grandchildren I know the difference, “but one of the family” she has most certainly been, and still is… she’s still here.
For how long, I don’t know, but as a single tear snuck down my cheek, I realized I didn’t want to face another loss…. not now.
The past few years had been filled with different kinds of losses, including saying bye to my mom and dad as they left this Earth just 2 years apart… both too young…both too soon.
My mom had never been a fan of dogs. In fact, quite fearful, but she made friends with our China girl the last years before she passed away. Against everything she had ever been taught in her generation, she welcomed our little girl’s wet nose touching her gently on her knee under our family table at many a family gathering.
Mom would hold a small morsel of goodness between her petite fingers and quietly gave the OK for the quick nibble. Mom would always exclaimed how gentle our little girl would gingerly pick the morsel from her fingers, followed by, “You’re a good girl!”
It gave me joy to watch this exchange on many family occasion. It showed a different side of my mom, and it revealed to me how a little furry being and her tenderness could chase a lifetime of fears away in a moment.
Walks with my dad in the last years, him in his wheelchair, were dotted with moments of China leading the way as my dad held her leash, also revealing a different side of my dad post stroke….one I hadn’t known before.
Our little China girl had played a starring role in many pieces of are family’s lives in the past 15 years and counting.
So no… she is not JUST a dog to me.
My 4 daughters and and grandchildren have all experiences with her in their everyday lives over the years.
15 years of walks, playgrounds, bed snuggles, camping weeks, bike rides playing fetch till our arms were exhausted, car rides, ice creams and timbits, And wet kisses to go around as the family spilled into the door on the weekends. Her little wagging tail spoke volumes as she greeted each one.
And of course she was my sidekick for all these 15 years. Soft gentle licks when I was sad, soft gentle licks when I was happy. Greetings at the door…. every single time…. no judgment.
I share this story because I dare say I believe God created these furry friends to connect us in many ways…heal… teach.
For those of us who are fur baby lovers, I believe it’s brings our God much joy when his creations warm our hearts and knit us together with memories.
My little girl is a blessing to me and saying goodbye someday is not a thought I want to entertain just yet. but when that time comes, the memories that have knitted us together, have painted a beautiful picture.
A little 10 pound dog, conquered a lifelong fear in my mom. She was… she is… a loyal friend, and companion to our kids and grandkids. But most of all, I believe she is a Heaven sent, non judgmental being sent to teach us what that could look like.
As I finished this story, my little girl lifted her head and stared at me as if to say “What’s all the fuss about? And what’s with the tear?…I’m still here….”
She’s still here❤
So for now, I will enjoy her to the fullest in her golden years, and reflect on the wonderful moments she has connected for us, helped heal us… now in her golden years…
My young hands held the navy blue church hymnal firmly on the corners that had heard many a voice sing across its pages over the years in the hard pews of my small country church as I was growing up. The pages smelled of a touch of mustiness …all part of the memory.
I loved singing. I had sung since the tender age of 4. The words of the decades old hymn seemed to flow effortlessly from my lips…
My young body sunk softly into my grandma’s seventies couch as I proceeded to sing my own concert to nobody else but grandma’s beautifully blooming Christmas cactus, centered in the front of the living room picture window, and shelves of black-and-white framed photos of generations past, listening in respectful silence.
“Whata friend we have in Jesus, all our sinsand griefs to bear, what a privilege to carry, everything to God in prayer.”
Sung with the innocence of my age, I didn’t know then how much these words would come to mean to me in the coming 5 decades in different seasons of my life journey. What a friend He truly became as the mountain tops gave way to valleys through the seasons.
Fast forward 30 years.
I gently held one corner of the navy blue church hymnal with my dad, dressed in his Sunday best, firmly holding the other side.
“What a friend we have in Jesus, allour sins and griefs to bear...”
My soprano voice blended effortlessly with my dad’s beautiful bass voice as we stood together, side-by-side, bringing the gift of song to my grandparents, my dad’s parents, on their 60th wedding anniversary. They too will have experienced the words of this song as they had journeyed many seasons together raising 6 children, and loving on many grandchildren and great grandchildren over the decades.The suttle glistening in both my grandparents eyes said it all…
“What a privilege to carry everything to God and prayer.”
Fast forward a few more years… sitting low beside my grandpa’s contented face as he lay feebly on the temporary bed made up for him, where life was coming quickly to a close for his life’s journey in the living room of the home, he and the love of his life, grandma, had shared for 60 plus years. His pure white,stiff, bristly hair, stood at attention as I had always remembered it as a child growing up.
It was a familar comfort even now when life was ebbing quickly for my grandpa.
Now in my late thirties, having a young family of my own, I quietly and gently sang the words of the familiar hymn once again…
“What a friend we have in Jesus…“
My voice trailed off as his tired eyes drooped heavily, but in a moment, my grandpa gifted me with a heartfeld “Thank you!“in his low familiar voice I had heard for so many years of my life…
My grandpa peacefully left for Heaven just days later, but I was so comforted to know he had the comfort of his Jesus… what a friend.
Fast forward 20 more years; my dad, now laying in his bed most days, having had to say goodbye to his sweetheart of 53 years 2 years by now, left to face life with a debilitating stroke that accompanied him for over 13 years.
“What’s song would you like me to singdad?”… was a question I asked often as we spent time together in the evenings after the home care had left. My dad’s verberating bass voice answered as he stared at the ceiling, laying on his back, ready for bed, all tuck in by those who cared for him round the clock…
“What a friend we have in Jesus!…”
Now it was my turn to have glistening eyes as the days of our duo singing were over, as the stroke had stolen a part of his singing voice among many other things.
Yet I knew as I sang the old familiar hymn with a lump in my throat, that my dad was singing along in his spirit as I saw the glisten, now in his eyes as the words that had comforted 3 generations over the years through many valleys, spilled out of my now quivering lips.
Life had been hard for my dad the past 13 years dependent on so many others …
“Whata friend we have inJesus….“
My dad met his friend Jesus the next night… face-to-face… It had come full circle as I now needed the words of that beautiful hymn as I said goodbye to my beautiful dad.
This one line of this beloved 18th century hymn had stood the test of time for 3 generations… and can continue to do so for many more generations I believe…
My 13 year old teenage mind sat restless as Sunday evening church seemed to drag on.
My mind was dreaming of other things I could be doing in my teenage world this evening. I glanced over to the next dark hardwood bench where a few of my teen school friends sat in their casual evening Sunday dress, seemingly daydreaming of teenage things as well.
I reluctantly took a corner of the traditional blue hymnal as my mom beckoned me to the congregational singing with her. My reluctance became less as the words and the melody of the old familiar hymn rolled off my tongue… “When The Roll is Called Up Yonder” I had always loved to sing, even as a little child, settling in on my grandma’s blue 60s sofa with her own personal copy of our church hymnal.
The beautiful sounds of harmony streaming from all corners of the small country church rushed over me… and I smiled. It was home to my heart.
It was time for the message. The preacher slowly climbed the wooden steps to the center pulpit. The Elderly white haired preacher with his well worn black King James Bible tucked securely to his chest, took his spot at the wooden pulpit where he had stood many a time over the past 50 plus years.
I glanced at the hands on my petite black coveted wrist watch I had gotten the previous Christmas from my mom and dad. I settled in to make the best of it. I was going nowhere as my mom and dad flanked either side of me on the hard bench, listening intently to the words of the preacher now booming through the small congregation gathered this Sunday evening.
Suddenly, I was jolted out of my far away thoughts. as my unfocused eyes sharpened and my mind heard ripples of unmistakable shrill gasps of a few, making its way through the small town church. Seconds later, as all my senses tuned in to the now, the vision of our long time, white haired , King James Bible carrying preacher, gripping either side of the tall wooden pulpit, having less and less success as his whole being, went crashing to the floor, taking the pulpit preached from for over 50 years with him.
What happened next seemed to roll out in slow motion.
More and more people jumped into action. A nurse, a family member, a deacon… The preacher we all thought would be with us forever in our teenage minds was making his way to eternity despite the futile attempts of his rescuers from the congregation.
I huddled together with my teenage friends in the comfort of a long wooden pew far from the scene as the ambulance attendants burst through the church double doors never meant for this sort of thing, pushing a long narrow gurney with white sheets that seemed to speak loudly in their own way. This was church. All were welcome, but this didn’t ft.
Our church service had been changed in a moment in time. The white haired preacher, who had graced the small town pulpit for over 50 years, had moved on to his Heavenly home… in a moment in time.
As the story unfolded over the next few days, when his Bible and personal belongings were retrieved by his family from his long time post at the pulpit, it was discovered It was to be his last message preached. His wish according to his family was to enter Heaven doing what he was called to do and love… preach the Gospel with his last breath.
And so he did. How incredible.
I look back to that moment in time periodically. A Sunday night church service, and how my young mind translated from a listless Sunday evening church service to a life changing moment for a preacher and his congregation that included a listless teenager like me.
In a moment… life can change forever. The effects can be everlasting. Was anyone in that small congregation anticipating what would happen that Sunday evening? A strong NO I would venture to say, including the daydreaming teenager in me.
We all have a choice where we will spend eternity, yet eternity seems so far away at times. That day in my teenage mind, in a single moment, the turn came for one of Heaven’s souls. Now an everlasting citizen of the very Heaven he had preached about unwaveringly for over 50 years.
That night’s memory may have moved to the back of my mind through the years, but I know it changed me to this day.
I choose to try to live “in the moment” because that is what we have. And along with living in the moment, comes a certainty of eternity in Heaven, if it be 50 years from now or in one single moment. The Gray haired preacher did not know it was to be his last night on earth that Sunday evening over 4 decades ago now, but he was sure where he was going. He had preached about this eternity for so many years, accepting the free gift from his Savior many many years earlier as his testimony portrayed.
I too remember one night, under the covers of my blanket, at the tender age of 11 accepting that free gift of forgiveness and eternity in Heaven. FREE…. nothing I did… but everything HE did. Certainty of Heaven for me when the time comes, just as the time came for the old, Gray haired preacher that night…. He was prepared …I am prepared….we all can be…